The COVID-19 Pandemic: Epidemiology, Molecular Biology and Therapy

Editor: Shama Parveen

The COVID-19 Pandemic: Epidemiology, Molecular Biology and Therapy

ISBN: 978-981-14-8185-7
eISBN: 978-981-14-8187-1 (Online)

Introduction

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected almost every part of the globe with millions of cases and over a million deaths. The pandemic has had a significant global economic impact and addressing it systematically requires significant efforts from researchers, healthcare workers and governments.

The COVID-19 Pandemic: Epidemiology, Molecular Biology and Therapy covers relevant aspects of this viral pandemic including information about the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen (morphology, genome, proteins, structural protein genes, replication), global epidemiology, transmission, risk factors, clinical manifestation, management, host immune response, pathogenesis, diagnosis, therapeutic agents (antivirals, natural compounds) and vaccines. Readers will find basic and advanced knowledge about the disease organized into simple and easy-to-read chapters about the disease, making this book a handy and comprehensive reference for general readers, academicians and biology students, alike.

Foreword

Zoonotic viruses are becoming a threat for mankind and they keep on jumping the species and cause a threat to human life. The emergence of some of these viral infections that were seen in the 21st century include Avian Influenza, Ebola, Nipah, Sever Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). However, none of these epidemics reached this magnitude as Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID 19). The COVID 19 pandemic started in December 2019 in the Huanan seafood market, in the capital of China’s Hubei province, Wuhan. It has affected more than 14 million people and has led to the death of around 6,00,000 people by 15th July 2020. It reminds us of the Swine Flu pandemic of 1918-19 when millions of people died, and the morbidity was very high. COVID 19 is caused by a beta coronavirus named as Severe acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus -2 (SARS-CoV-2) because of its similarity with SARS CoV and other bat coronaviruses.

In these unprecedented times of the Coronavirus pandemic, which is gripping the whole world, the idea of writing a book on “The COVID-19 Pandemic” by Dr. Shama Parveen is a very timely effort and is going to provide a comprehensive account for the readers about this topic. The first chapter of the book gives a general introduction to COVID-19 and the different aspects of the infection that are discussed in this book. This book has all the relevant and important topics covered, the next 3 chapters deal with the biology of the SARS-CoV-2 i.e morphology, genomic organization, proteins and viral replication; molecular characterization of major structural protein genes and codon based characterization of S2 subunit of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Related Coronaviruses. This knowledge about the structure of the virus and its genomics is needed to develop the tools for diagnosis, prevention and treatment. The next chapters are on global epidemiology and transmission of COVID-19; risk factors for severe disease; clinical manifestations, management, host immune response and pathogenesis of COVID-19 and current diagnostic approaches to detect the infection. These chapters are of practical importance and are useful for the public health workers as well as for clinicians and laboratory personnel. The last few chapters are focussed on treatment and prevention and they cover the following topics ie.; natural compounds and drug repurposing candidates as potential therapeutic agents against COVID-19; and finally, the COVID-19 vaccine development: challenges and current scenario.

The efforts put in by Dr. Shama Parveen and her team in compiling all the knowledge in a such a short time is really commendable. Although there has been an explosion of knowledge on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 and the WHO has named it as ‘Infodemic’ however a concise and accurate information which covers all the relevant fields in a single platform is lacking. This book will thus be extremely useful for scientists, researchers, doctors, epidemiologists and public health personnel as well as students of Science and Virology. Science and Medicine have made so much progress in the last 100 years and though this pandemic has brought the whole world on its knees, we must also appreciate the efforts of the scientific community in providing diagnostic assays within 15 days and hopefully a vaccine within a year. With COVID-19, I believe it’s God's way of telling us: "Only Humans can Save Humans with Humanity and Knowledge”.

Dr. Shobha Broor
Ex Professor, Microbiology
AIIMS, New Delhi
Professor Emeritus
SGT University, Gurgaon
India

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